Sunday, October 14, 2012


This post is dedicated to Henning Wessel, a friend who recently died – a good guy who helped a lot of people passing through Phnom Penh and along the Mekong. Henning loved food and I think he would have enjoyed this post. Brokedown Palace (going home)
The hailstorm repairs are allllmost done, summer heat is finished, and it’s time to bake again. Over the past few weeks I’ve made pear preserves, strawberry preserves, triple chocolate cookies, bun cha, lahp, a country French boule, and a country French cheese (pepper jack) boule. For breakfast this morning I had bread, preserves, and almond butter – all homemade.  
Here are three good preserves recipes:
Strawberry on left, pear on right
Strawberry Preserves 
Recipe from Martha Stewart, with increased sugar
Super-sweet berries are not necessary. The main thing is good flavor. The sugar takes care of the sweetness.
2 pounds strawberries, hulled
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon, freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups sugar
Put strawberries and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until juices are released, about 40 minutes. Stir in sugar.
Can take berries out, put in jars, then cook the syrup down and pour over berries. This will result in firmer berries.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture registers 210 degrees.on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Original recipe says “Let cool completely; skim foam from surface with a spoon. Preserves can be refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 2 months.” I pour them up hot, jars in boiling water for 15 minutes. 

Amber Pear Preserves
Printed from COOKS.COM
□   4 c. under-ripe pears (I use 4#)
□   3 c. sugar (try a little less – with 4# pears, I used 4# sugar)
□   1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice (3 T if increasing as above)
This recipe is about 75 years old. Peel and chop under-ripe pears. Let stand overnight with sugar and lemon juice. Stir then put on low fire and let simmer until pears have turned amber color, about 2 hours (BUT do not over-cook). Go by color. Stir to be sure it isn't sticking. Pour in prepared jars and seal. Use all juice. Boiling water bath for 15 minutes. You are really in for a treat.

Orange Marmalade
From About British Foods
Seville oranges are smaller and not as “pretty” as the usual oranges seen in stores. But they are the right (bitter) oranges for this recipe. Usually available December-February. Need ~12” square of muslin, large non-reactive stock pot with 4 liters water, sterilized jars.
5# Seville oranges
2 large or 3 small, unwaxed lemons
6# sugar (original recipe calls for a little more)
4 liters water in a large pot
Almond butter, strawberry preserves, country loaves (cheese on top)
Halve the oranges and lemons and juice them. Add juice to water. Put the pips and rubble onto muslin, tie it off, and put into the water. Pull the membranes out of the oranges (reserving the pith and peel) and discard. I think the membranes add a stronger bitterness. Cut orange and lemon peel into strips. If too thin will dissolve. Put into water. Bring to boil, then heat, and bring to boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, removing any scum – until setting point* is reached. When setting point reached, turn off heat and let sit for 20 minutes.
Pour into sterilized jars (I use a sterilized 1/3 cup measure). The original recipe doesn’t call for a 15 minute boiling water bath, but why not.
*Setting point is determined by putting a couple plates into the icebox for 15-20 minutes. Put a spoonful of marmalade onto a plate and back into icebox for 5 minutes. Then push the edge of marmalade with finger. Wrinkly = set.

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